Members of Canadian Children's Opera Co. making musical memories of a lifetime in Europe
Canada did beautifully at the fifth annual Summa Cum Laude youth music festival in Vienna last week. Representing Toronto were members of the Canadian Children's Opera Company, who placed second in the treble choir category (treble refers to unchanged children's voices).
There were 30 choirs and instrumental groups present, with the biggest representation coming from China. The finalists all had a chance to perform in the glorious Musikverein. However, the real glory surely isn't in being a finalist, or in which history-soaked venue the performances happened in, but in the experience itself.
First of all, there is the heady feeling of making great music with one's peers -- something all children lucky enough to belong to a choir or band or orchestra experience every time they get together. Then there is the joy of meeting other, equally enthusiastic kids from other places. Then there is the adventure of seeing new places.
For 50 members of the Canadian Children's Opera Company and their artistic director Ann Cooper Gay, the Vienna stop was one of several destinations visited during this summer's outing to Austria and Italy, which began June 28 and ends on Wednesday.
You can follow their dear-diary blog here.
It's incredibly difficult work to make all this happen -- from the fundraising in the months leading up to the trip, to figuring out how to keep track of each child and his or her socks, dirty underwear and nutritional quirks. In spite of all that, pretty much every child and parent and leader who has ever been part of a summer concert tour will tell you that they would do it over again and again in a heartbeat.
As the old credit card commercial would remind us, the memories are priceless.
Here are two video clips of the Canadian Children's Opera Company kids in action, at a museum in Liechtenstein on July 3 (there are no further details provided with these clips):